Preparing for an Exam Phase 4: Prepare Your Body

Preparing for an Exam Phase 4: Prepare Your Body looks at how to look after you body and brain to ensure you perform well in your exam.

Now that your study is on track, it’s time to start thinking about how to physically prepare your brain for the exam.

Tip #8: Sleep

Sleep is important for proper brain function, and if you follow the study tips in phase 1, 2, and 3, then you shouldn’t be up the night before the exam studying.

The National Sleep Foundation says different age groups have different sleep needs, and that our sleep needs are “impacted by lifestyle and health”.

to determine how much sleep you need, it’s important to assess not only where you fall on the “sleep needs spectrum,” but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress.


The Foundation recommends that you determine how different amounts of sleep affect you.

Are you productive, healthy and happy on seven hours of sleep? Or does it take you nine hours of quality ZZZs to get you into high gear?

So how do you find that magic number?


Tip #9: Eat

Eating properly is just as important as sleeping properly.

If your body doesn’t have enough energy (from either not sleeping or not eating), you will find it very hard to concentrate in the exam. Eating foods that are rich in the following nutrients over the days leading up to the exam will give your brain the energy it needs to function properly.


Vitamin B12: Involved in the function of every cell in the body, Vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause irreversible damage to the brain.

Creatine: The most popular muscle-building supplement in the world, Creatine is an important nutrient in the muscle and the brain that helps to supply energy.

Vitamin D3: Functioning as a steroid hormone in the body, Vitamin D3 deficiencies are linked to depression.

Carnosine: Found strictly in animal tissues, Carnosine can reduce damage caused by elevated blood glucose and may have strong anti-aging effects.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) or Omega-3 fatty acids: As low DHA can adversely affect various aspects of cognitive function and mental health, it is critical for normal brain development.

Notice that there is a lot of fish – fish is called brain food for a reason.


Learn how to create an exam strategy in my next post:
Preparing for an Exam Phase 5: The Exam


Previous post: Preparing for an Exam Phase 3: Tips for Studying


Information and images sourced from:

Creapure. 2011. “Which foods contains creatine?” Accessed September 18, 2014.

FitDay. 2013. “7 Sources of Omega-3 DHA Fatty Acid.” Accessed September 18, 2014.

Gunnars, Kris. 2014. “5 Brain Nutrients Found Only in Meat, Fish and Eggs (NOT Plants).” Accessed September 18, 2014.

Health-Alicious-Ness. 2014. “Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B12.” Accessed September 18, 2014.

Kent, Linda Tarr. 2013. “List of Carnosine Rich Foods.” Accessed September 18, 2014.

MyFit. 2014. “Foods High in Creatine.” Accessed September 18, 2014.

National Sleep Foundation. 2014. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Accessed September 23, 2014.

National Sleep Foundation. 2014. “How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?” Image. Accessed September 23, 2014.


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